Sunday, 21 April 2013

Film Review: ANGEL HEART (1987)

Angel Heart - poster Director: Alan Parker
Writers: William Hjortsberg (novel “Falling Angel”), Alan Parker (screenplay)
Running time: 113 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
USA Release date: 6th March 1987

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 21st April 2013.


This is one of those titles that come up from time to time, either in conversations or it gets a mention in someone’s top ten or something similar. Either way, it’s always intrigued me. I hadn’t gone out of my way to find out too much about it before viewing so I could appreciate it for what it is and not what someone else may think about it. I have to say, although not perfect, it’s pretty damn good! Here’s a very brief summary before I tell you just why.

Angel Heart - 4 It’s 1955 and when private detective Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is contacted by a lawyer on behalf of a mysterious client, he’s intrigued enough to meet this party. The client, Cyphre (Robert De Niro) wants Angel to find the whereabouts of a former crooner, Johnny Favourite, who had entered a contract with Cyphre. He had been injured in the war and was supposed to be staying in a hospital in up-state New York. Checking his file, Angel discovers that Favourite is listed as ‘transferred’, but that doesn’t ring true. He finds his doctor and gets a story about him being picked up and taken back to New Orleans. The action switches South where Angel follows clues that lead him to a young woman; Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) and a fortune teller; Margaret Krusemark (Charlotte Rampling). Both have information about Johnny, but neither can tell Angel where he is. A series of murders though do point the way and when Angel discovers the truth about Johnny it may even be too late for him.

Angel Heart - 9 This is a beautifully put together film with some great imagery and a slight fixation for fans (don’t worry, this is explained in the narrative). The performances were all excellent with Mickey Rourke easily standing out; he always makes his characters believable and that was most important in this case. Of the others, De Niro was good in the places we saw him although he doesn’t have a major part to play; I thought Lisa Bonet did a very reasonable job also. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly has something; and enough something to gain my recommendation.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.8/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 42,341 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Angel Heart - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100 (based on 23 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 62/100 (based on 28,704 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Angel Heart - 10 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Cyphre: Are you an atheist?
Harry Angel: Yeah, I'm from Brooklyn.
[repeated line]
Harry Angel: I gotta thing about chickens.
Cyphre: No matter how cleverly you sneak up on a mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye.
Angel Heart - 9 Harry Angel: What's your name?
Epiphany Proudfoot: Epiphany Proudfoot.
Harry Angel: Your mother left you a very beautiful name, Epiphany.
Epiphany Proudfoot: Not much else.
Harry Angel: [to Izzy as he is lounging on a deserted beach at Coney Island, in what must be early Autumn] Listen. What do you do around here in the summertime?
Izzy: I bite the heads off rats.
Harry Angel: What do you do in the winter?
Izzy: The same.
[chuckles nonchalantly]

Angel Heart - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:


Aditya Gokhale said...

I love love love this film! So many memorable scenes and this is the film that made me a Mickey Rourke fan.

Great call sir!

Vladimir Lerner said...

you are absolutely right Aditya, this film was so well made. Imagery, the story, how all the characters are woven together. Spectacular film and spectacular performance by Mickey Rourke.